Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The  Leadership  Odyssey  by  Pritam Singh,  Asha  Bhandarker and Snigdha Rai ; Published by Sage Publications ; Pages 322 ; Price Rs. 975 /-


This book has been written by three “ Thought Leaders” of our country.  Shri. Pritam Singh who was the first person to be conferred a Padma Shri in the field of management education and was declared “ Global Thought Leader “ by the Russian School of Business. He has bagged several other awards and is the C E O of LEAD Centre in Gurgaon. He is the author of seven books. His Co-Editor Asha Bhandarker is Distinguished Professor OB at IMI-New Delhi and has sevenbooks to her credit. Snigdha Rai is Assistant  Professor in I M I, New Delhi and is a Ph.D from BHU. She is an authority on Leadership.

The volume has been prepared by world-class thinkers and educators who have at once conceptualized and clinically studied hundreds of business leaders, public sector executives . They have presented to us the distilled essence of their immense experience. The response obtained in the quantitative survey of more than 700 respondents is enhanced by an in-depth analysis of leaders from public sector enterprises as also NGOs. It is concluded that an inspiring leader transforms the organization that has turned docile or has got caught in the web of an unfriendly eco-system.

In  igniting the human talent lies the real competence of all great and genuine leaders. What matters is not financial capital nor technology but the culture of an organization as embodied in its human capital.

India ranks 94 out of the 148 nations in the competitiveness of corporate governance. The Chief of the  I M F Ms Christine Lagarde declared that the richest  85 persons in the world own the same amount of wealth as the better half ( 50 per cent ) of the world’s population---proof of  stark inequity. Toxic leaders, greedy corporations and growth models focused mainly on wealth creation and economic development resulting in people experiencing powerlessness, meaninglessness and de-humanisation. Inequity inevitably leads to revolt, rebellion and revolution. History teems with countless examples.

The authors offer a cogent analysis of the malaise and they review global developments.The technological innovations and knowledge explosion in the last half a century is unparalleled in human history. But there has not been a simultaneous growth in value systems, attitudes and philosophy of life of the people. There has been no enhancement of emotional and spiritual power. Fortunately there has been a growing awareness of the need to inculcate ethical—spiritual—value systems while grooming leaders.

The book has been written to enable leaders to undertake journeys moving from Darkness to Light—how to lead morally dignified lives. The focus of thebook is  to delve deeper and throw light on a leader’s odyssey from unconscious to conscious living and leading as well as tapping the positive potential which lies in the unconscious self.

The first chapter deals with the peaks and valleys of leadership. It offers a panoramic view of leadership across the range from toxic to virtuous leadership. The quest for leadership has been a perennial fascination through the ages aimed at the welfare and up-liftment of humanity. We have leaders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy and others.

The next chapter is devoted  to the authors’ empirical findings on toxic leadership and the impact on followers. The harsh reality is that people grow by rank in the organizational hierarchy but do not mature with respect to their attitude and competencies. This chapter enables position holders to develop awareness and appreciation about their negative behaviourial traits vis-vis unconscious trapping in toxic attitude.

The third chapter is a detailed profile of virtuous leadership. We are provided the salient behaviours of virtuous leaders—such as being humble and empowering, respecting the dignity of others, being a good listener, providing clear sense of direction for performance and approachable.

The concluding chapter is a road map for moving from toxic to virtuous leadership.

There are a number of tables and an impressive list of references. This is a highly enlightening approach to leadership and is a guide to the emerging leaders of tomorrow. Jagdish. N.Sheth of Emory University in his lucid “Foreword” praises the book for its insights and declares that it is a great checklist of self-diagnostics to assess whether one is a toxic or enlightened leader.


11 /  03 / 2016.

Going For Gold by Nanda Menon ; Published by Portfolio / Penguin ; Pages 214 ; Price Rs 499/-

The author of this book is a Chartered Accountant from the Arthur Andersen group and a reputed international investment banker. “ Businessworld “ Magazine named him the No. 2  Dealmaker in India.

Gold is one of the most attractive agent for creation of wealth and for Indians over millennia proved to be the most attractive investment. Gold is a bastion of wealth protection especially in times of crisis. Menon provides the reader with a sound and rational basis for investing in gold and gold related investments. He will learn from thebook why gold provides a safe haven from the coming storms and can hold its own from rival avenues of investment.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One is a cogent analysis of the reasons for owning gold. Two significant qualities of gold are that it is rare and impossible to be reproduced and it acts as a store of value across time and generations. At the end of 2012 there was only 1,74,100 metric tones of gold in existence above the ground—the sum total of gold since the beginning of civilization. The current annual output of gold is a measly 3000 tonnes.

Gold is shiny and pleasing to the eye as well as malleable, ductile and easy to work with—the perfect medium for jewellery. Gold not only makes you wealthy but you can flaunt it as an element of beauty. As an Indian jeweller put it precisely, “ Gold is God, Sir, Gold is God and you must never forget it.” According to Hindu mythology Creation began with “ Hiranyagarbha ”—the Golden Egg from which emerged   “ Brahma “ the Creator. Thus gold enjoyed a divine significance in India endowing it a pre-disposition towards becoming a currency. Gold had been available in the country in huge quantities.  Quite recently under the order of the Supreme Court  the vaults of the  Kerala Padmanabhaswamy Temple were opened and it was found that there was gold amounting to billions of dollars. This availability enabled gold to become a means of exchange, a store of wealth and an icon of significance in religious and cultural ornamentation.

Menon offers a detailed analysis of paper currencies and their collapse. A highly significant moment was the system introduced after the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 which linked the U S Dollar to gold at an exchange rate of US Dollar 35 an Oz. America then held reserves of 22,000 tonnes of gold. The Vietnam and Korean wars dealt a severe blow to the confidence in the almighty dollar and US gold reserves dwindled to 8500 tonnes by 1971.

Menon has an interesting chapter on  where gold occurs and how it is recovered from the bowels of the earth and refined. Gold is rare and in short supply and there isn’t as much of it in the ground as there used to be. This tiny  supply of gold has set the stage for a dramatic conflict as demand for gold is burgeoning. Menon makes a special study of the demand for gold in China and India. The two countries alone  generate incremental demand of  600 tonnes per annum for the next five years compared to the global production of 3114 tonnes. Gold output has already reached its all-time peak.
Part Two of the book deals with investment strategies. Over the last century, markets have evolved a number of ways for investors to gain exposure to gold prices other than by taking physical ownership of gold jewellery, coins, bars or bullion.Prominent among these are Exchange Traded Funds, Futures and Options. All the choices have been analysed in depth by the author.

Menon compares gold with other metals and precious stones. There are no real alternatives from the perspective of precious metals or gemstones that provide gold’s scarcity, reliability and ease of transactability as a currency or as a repository of wealth.

The investment banker recommends a strategy of regular purchase of fixed monetary value of gold on a monthly or annual basis, with purchases becoming more aggressive or accelerated when the gold price is below the industry’s all-in-sustaining cost. Gold also should be part of a diversified portfolio including equities and real estate.

There is no denying gold is a veritable store of wealth and value and will overcome the vicissitudes of the modern world.

This is a carefully researched book and worth its weight in gold.


08 / 02 / 2016

Protecting Children on Internet by Karnika Seth ; Published by Universal Law Publishing ; Pages 190 ; Price Rs 250/-

The book under review  is  a  guidebook on best practices for online safety of children . The author Karnika Seth is a reputed Cyberlaw authority  and is the Managing Partner of Seth Associates, a law firm in India. She practices law at the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court, and is advisor to many corporate houses and IT companies. She has been officially consulted by the Lok Sabha and the Ministry of Information Technology for her recommendations to develop cyber law in India. She is also a legal advisor to Office of Comptroller of Certifying Authorities under the IT Act, 2000.  Seth has also actively resolved many cybercrime cases with the Indian law enforcement agencies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Corporate and Commercial Laws from the King’s College, University of London. Seth was awarded the Certificate of Honour by the Chief Justice of India.

In this age of technology, children have full access and adapt with the latest technology faster than the earlier generation. While this can result in  enhancing their learning and increase their knowledge, it can also be  misused by them or they can be lured by strangers to their self-gratification. Children are eminently  vulnerable and  may have to suffer the negative effects of advancement of internet and digital technology. We learnt of a person  creating a Facebook page to upload and share images of children reportedly for sexual gratification. He was arrested under POCSO Act and also under Tamil Nadu Goonda's Act.

The book under review aims at  parents, children, educators, lawyers, officers in Ministry of Women & Child Development, NGOs, and officials of  law enforcement. The author attempts successfully  to ensure  cyber awareness for  protection of children  from  cybercrimes like trolling, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, child pornography and various  forms of online child abuse. 

 According to Seth , “The book is a social initiative directed at bringing cyber empowerment through cyber awareness to protect children who use Information technology more than any other section of our society”. Seth provides copious examples and cases that illustrate the multifarious  threats faced by children and has brought to bear her rich practical experience  and provided very useful  tips that would  prevent and combat threats faced by  children  online. We have a valuable discussion on the present  laws that protect children in cyberspace, particularly POCSO Act, 2012 and IT Act, 2000 as also the National initiatives adopted in the country  to protect children . Examples are offered from  USA and Europe including U.K and initiatives taken by International organizations are explained . She  has made some wholesome suggestions  on various techno- legal and social measures that will result in protecting  children. The author provides a glossary of important cyber terms.

On the occasion of her book release,  Seth also announced that an Application on Cyberlaws aimed at spreading cyber awareness ‘IT Act & Cyberlaws’ and a website childprotectionindia.com elucidating cybersafety tips for children have also been developed and made operational by Lex Cyberia, specialized cyberlaw practice of Seth Associates, where she is the Managing Partner.
This book is divided into seven chapters. The introduction provides  statistics of child users and introduces the readers  with the impact of internet on children. The second chapter deals with online threats to children. The author discusses about types of offences that may happen to children including sexual offences.  The third chapter furnishes  examples of child abuse on internet. The next chapter  provides  the guidelines that ought to be  followed by parents and children while surfing the net. Chapter 5 gives details of  the laws that are currently invoked  to prevent child abuse. These laws and legal provisions include constitutional provisions, The sixth chapter deals with international initiatives  taken to make internet safe for  children .In the seventh  chapter of this book the  author  discusses her own views to tackle the issue. She  highlights the needs for constant collaboration among the stakeholders including schools, parents, government and NGOs to create awareness for this. At the end, the book gives a list of cyber crime cells in India, a rich bibliography and the full texts of Information Technology Act, 2000( amended in 2008) and Protection of children from sexual offences Act, 2012.

The book will be of great  use to parents, educators, children, judiciary, lawyers, law firms, law libraries, Police, Investigation agencies, international organizations, Non governmental bodies, industry associations, ITES companies, IT Professionals and law students. The book won the Digital Empowerment Award .


07 / 02 / 2016

Karmayogi—A Biography of E.Sreedharan by M.S.Ashokan ; Published by Portfolio / Penguin ; Pages 250 ; Price Rs 250 /-


The book under review  was originally written in Malayalam by M.S.Ashokan who is a senior journalist with the reputed Kerala daily “ Deshabhimani “ and is also an author. The translator Rajesh Rammohan is famous for his translations of the works of N.S.Mahadevan and K.R.Meera. His translation of “Litanies of Dutch Battery” by Mahadevan fetched him the Vodaphone-Crossword Prize for Best Translated Fiction in 2011.

Sreedharan is a colossus hailing from Kerala distinguished for his unparalleled role as a technocrat who modernized and expanded India’s transportation systems which equal the best in the world.
He was born on 12 June 1932 ,completed his education at the Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School and then went to the Victoria College in Palghat. He later on completed his Civil Engineering from the Government Engineering College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh .For a short tenure, he worked as a lecturer in Civil Engineering at the Government Polytechnic, Kozhikode and a year at the Bombay Port Trust as an apprentice.

Later he joined the Indian Engineering Service in 1953 conducted by the UPSC. His first assignment was in the Southern Railway as a Probationary Assistant Engineer in December 1954.

His greatest achievement was his leadership of Konkan Railway Project which linked the financial capital of India—Mumbai to the northernmost area of Kerala. It is an engineering feat and traverses over the West Coast of India negotiating the tough terrain that lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. The Konkan Line  runs through 59 stations, spanning three States and covers 760 kilometres. There are 92 tunnels along the route out of which nine are more than 3 kilometres long and the longest one is 6.5 kilometres long. This project has 149 large bridges and 1819 medium to lower bridges . Over 21 kilometres of the bridges cross water bodies. The tallest via-duct in the country was erected between Nandi and Panvel. Its pillars are 64 metres high, smaller than the Qutub Minar by only 4 metres. Unarguably an engineering marvel which took only seven years and a quarter to be completed. It must be emphasized that he had ensured unparalleled power as well as freedom of choice. He took a guarantee from the Minister, George Fernandes that there would not be any external intervention or influence during his mission’s planning and delivery.

By 2014 Sreedharan had been a technocrat  who had completed sixty years of public service. He joined the India Railways Engineering Service in 1954 and retired in 1990. He founded Konkan Rail Corporation and spent seven years there.He became the Managing Director of the DMRC in 1997 and retired when he was seventy-nine.

His first assignment was the Pampan Bridge when he was thirty one. The bridge connected Ramesawram to Tamil Nadu. The earlier bridge was swept off in the fury of waves, Sreedharan recovered 126 girders consumed by the sea and re-installed them. The new bridge was constructed in record four months. He was given a cash award of Rs. 1000/-by the Railway Ministry.

Sredharan  joined the Calcutta Metro in 1971 and was with them for  five years . Calcutta Metro runs 16.45 kilometres underground. Sreedharan not only completed this much heralded project but also laid down the foundation of modern infrastructure engineering in India . 

He   became the Managing Director of the Cochin Shipyard. However, the Ministry created trouble on his Grade fixation. In 1981, under Sreedharan's leadership, the shipyard launched its first ship, the  “ MV Rani Padmini “.

The Delhi Metro is a feather in his cap. He was here from 1995 to 2012.. Sreedharan was given the sobriquet of  “Metro Man” by the media for his grand success in executing the completion of the Delhi Metro.

After his retirement from DMRC, Sreedharan has been appointed as Principal Advisor of the Kochi Metro Rail Project.

A large number of awards have been conferred on him  He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2001, the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2005 by Government of France and was named one of Asia's Heroes by TIME magazine in 2003. Recently he has been appointed to serve the United Nations’ High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (HLAG-ST). He was invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to serve on his HLAG-ST for a period of three years.

This is an extremely well written biography of one of the greatest sons of India, who set a high standard of leadership.


 04  / 02  / 2016. 

Justice H.R.Khanna - Law , Life and Works  by Dr.Lokendra  Malik and Dr.Manish  Arora ; Published by Universal Law  Publishing ; Pages  381 ; Price Rs 575 /-

Dr.Lokendra Malik is a practising advocate in our Supreme Court and is a authority on constitutional law. He has to his credit several books on human rights. We reviewed in these columns his book on the Indian President. He has brought out a book on Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer. Dr.Manish Arora is also a Supreme Court advocate and is Director of Universal Law Publishing. He has contributed to a number of legal journals.

Justice Khanna is recognized for his contribution to the rule of law and and constitutional jurisprudence. He earned respect for his dissenting voice in the Habeas Corpus case as also his memorable role in the development of constitutional law in the Kesavananda Bharati case. His judgment tilted the balance seven to six against the government and curtailed the unrestricted power of Parliament to amend the Constitution on the doctrine of an un-amendable basic structure. Of course Justice Khanna paid a price for this as he was superseded in January 1977 and his junior Justice Beg was appointed Chief Justice of India. Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer wrote eloquently, “ His single monumental dissent and his majestic resignation, when superseded  made him a hallowed judicial celebrity…Khanna was  a paradigm of judicial promptitude and probity .”

The book under review has been divided into three parts. Part A is a biographical sketch of Justice Khanna. Part B incorporates select articles of the learned judge on various aspects of law and governance. The third and final Part includes  lectures delivered by a distinguished galaxy of legal luminaries who were invited to deliver the Justice Khanna Memorial lectures. Their subjects deal with independence of the judiciary and the problems of pendency, etc.

Khanna was born in Amritsar on 3rd July 1912. After passing the Law examination he joined the Bar in Amritsar in 1934 in the chambers of his father who was a leading lawyer and  the son gathered a large practice. Khanna crossed over from the Bar to the Bench joining the District Judiciary in 1952. In May 1962 he was elevated as judge of the Punjab High Court. In October 1966, the new high Court of Delhi was established and Khanna became one of its first judges, being appointed Chief Justice in July 1969. In 1971 he was elevated to the  Supreme Court.His tenure was from 1971 to 1977—a period of historic events that threatened the fabric of our constitutional democracy, while also showing the resilence to met the challenges.

Khanna’s most famous judgments were in connection with the Fundamental Rights case                        ( Kesavananda Bharati case ) and the Habeas Corpus  case. The authors provide details of these cases.The dissenting note of Khanna in the Habeas Corpus case was the main reason for his supersession by the Indira Gandhi government. Nani Palkhivala wrote, “ In deciding the Habeas Corpus case Justice H.R.Khanna played a memorable role at the most critical juncture in history. Generations unborn will admire his historic judgment as a shining example of judicial integrity and courage and cherish it for the abiding values it embodies”.

Justice Khanna became Chairman of the Eighth Law Commission. He opposed and lost in the race for Presidency to Giani Zail Singh.Justice Khanna  published a number of books and was active till the time of his death at ninety-five years.

The Second part of the book has 25 lectures delivered by Justice Khanna  on different disciplines. These include the role of judges, independence of the judiciary, the judicial system, criminal justice, constitution,etc. Of great interest is the speech delivered at the Centenary celebrations of Tej Bahadur Sapru.

It was a laudable idea on the part of the authors to make available to the readers the full texts of the H.R.Khanna Memorial Lectures. The list of speakers include great judges and practitioners of law and these are Justice Venkatachaliah, J.s.Verma,Chelameswar,K.K.Venugopal,Fali Nariman, Soli Sorabji, Upendra Baxi and an eminent journalist B.G.Verghese.

This is a very valuable book about a great legal giant. Justice Verma rightly said, “Justice Hans Raj Khanna was a living legend. He missed his century by a whisker—mere one boundary when he passed into legal folklore full of honours. He was  courageous judge who was the lone swimmer in the Supreme Court against the tide when that was the need to uphold civil liberties."

 31  /  1  /  2016

Consumer  is  King by  Rajyalakshmi  Rao ; Published by Universal Law Publishing ; Pages 436 ;Price Rs 595/-


Justice D.K.Jain, former Judge of the Supreme Court in his Foreword to thebook under review states, “ A lot needs to be done in terms of the effective implementation of the Consumer Protection Act as well as increasing consumer awareness. In such a scenario, a book as the present one, shall go a long way in providing consumers and lay persons a healthy insight into how they can approach the various consumer disputes redressal agencies, the procedure followed by them as well as understanding the latest views of these agencies with respect to key sectors such as Housing, Insurance, Medical, etc”

The Consumer is treated as the King as all business related activities have a single cardinal principle which is to provide utmost satisfaction to the end user –the Consumer. In this context consumer education is a must and in its absence consumers are susceptible to violation of their rights.

The author of this book is a Member of the National  Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission  for over a decade. She has been actively associated with the Consumer Protection Movement in our country  for the last eighteen years in several capacities. She has taken keen interest in bringing awareness to consumers of their rights and duties as also the relevant case laws on the subject.

The Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986 and due to this today we observe the fortification of protection of consumers with a considerable shift in business ethics.. The policy of liberalization ushered in by the Government has led to a spawning of both Indian and Foreign companies releasing daily new products and brands. But there has been a woeful lack of attention being paid to quality of the products. Satisfaction of the consumer took a back seat. It has been found that tall claims have been made of high quality of products and rarely has there been satisfactory after-sales service. Defects in such services covered availability of facilities relating to banking, insurance, healthcare, electricity, housing, etc.

The Consumer Protection Act ensured promotion of welfare of society by enabling consumers to participate directly in the market economy. It removed the helplessness of the consumer who found himself engulfed in a network of rackets.

A resolution passed by the United Nations declared that “ Consumereducation” is one of the basic rights of the small man. Rajyalakshmi Rao has helped accomplishing this aim by her exposition of the problems in simple and lucid language. She has written in an easy manner that not only professionals dealing with the intricacies of law but also non-professionals and ordinary citizens can follow. The book offers an insight into the development ofConsumer Law.

This volume has three main aims. Firstly, it impresses upon all that consumerforums provide quick and speedy redressal in an inexpensive and simple manner. Secondly, it guides the consumers as to the precautions they should exercise while purchasing goods or availing of services. Thirdly it provides a sampling of the judgments given by the different for a with regard to various sectors such as airlines, banks, insurance, transport sectors, telecom services, tourism, healthcare services, housing sectors, etc.

Consumer Law is an evolving process and this volume provides relevant judgments uptodate with the case numbers.

Rajyalakshmi Rao provides a brief history of the Consumer protection movement in the country. The Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Act in 1986. A three-tier structure of the district Consumer Forum, the State Level Commission and the National Commission for Redressal of consumer Grievances were instituted by 1988. In the last thirty years the Consumer  Courts have passed judgment on a variety of consumer grievances like unfair trade practices, supply of defective goods, and most importantly in the area of services being provided by various agencies. These judgments have afforded relief to the troubled consumers.

This book is meant for the ordinary citizen and his day-to-day concerns. For example, an unscrupulous builder, a grossly negligent doctor, a harassing insurance agent who delays in clearing our claims, an unresponsive housing board, even an insensitive tour organizer. It provides the basic information about the procedural aspects in filing a complaint with the Consumer Forum and explains how the remedy can be made simple.

The book is a step-by-step guide as to how to seek help from the Consumer Forum. It gives details of cases already decided in Consumer Forum. It helps consumers to file their own complaints. It provides solutions to the problems that harass the consumers.

This is a  very useful reference book which will benefit the common man, lawyers and professionals.

 P.P.Ramachandran 24  /  01  /  2016

Animals and Birds in Sanskrit Literature by Dr.Gauri Mahulikar ; Published by  New Bharatiya Book Corporation ; Pages 241 ; Price Rs 600/-

This is an unusual book edited by Dr.Gauri Mahulikar, erstwhile Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai. Dr. Mahulikar is  Gold Medallist and has annexed several Awards, Indian and foreign. She has written six booksand over seventy research papers. The University of Mumbai held a seminar on  the classic Sanskrit scientific and literary study on animals and birds—the “Mrigapakshisastra”. The book under review contains the papers presented at the seminar. There are eighteen articles by different scholars and authorities on India fauna.

The “ Mrigapakshisastra” was written by a Jain saint of the 13th century. He was Hamsadeva, a naturalist attached to the court of King Shaudhadeva of Jinapura. The King was captivated by the grace displayed naturally by animals and birds and fearing their mindless destruction ordered his minister to commission a book on the creatures of the forest. This task was assigned to and acquitted well by Hamsadeva who  described the nature and qualities of animals and birds in 36 groups giving copious details of the species, types, gestation periods, life span, etc. Since a systematic study of this classic work had not been done the Mumbai University undertook this task. Thirteen papers were presented in the seminar.

The original book includes 1705 stanzas and is dedicated to zoology and ornithology. The first chapter records 127 animals under 21 groups and second chapter contains details of 97 birds. The poetic work classifies the birds and animals in three groups, according to the three Gunas—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas—the gunas that create our universe. It expatiates on physical form. frame, reproduction, up-bringing, life span, food and other characteristics.

Kalpana Athalye studies in depth “ Horses “. She has referred to the work on Horses by Salihotra.  Nakula, the fourth Pandava    was the author of “Asvachikitsa” or treatment of horses. Athalye has furnished a list of 56 medicinal herbs used for treating horses. Bedekar has written on elephants according to prakriti and gives exhaustive details of Hastayurveda.

The crow plays an important part in daily life, in literature and has been classified by Hamsadeva into twelve species. The crow family has been mentioned in Sanskrit right from the Vedic age. References to crows in different contexts are replete in Sanskrit literature. The didactic literature, chiefly Panchatanta and Hitopadesa illustrate crow as a wise, thoughtful, true and faithful friend and also in some places as cunning, shrewd and untrustworthy.

Parineeta Deshpande writes in detail on veterinary practices and lore about the cow and the bullock.The Vedic importance of cows and bulls continued in the Puranas.
There is an interesting chapter on the pigeon which covers their role as carriers of messages. Special mention must be made of the use of pigeons during the First World War.

 Ruchita Rane has covered frogs as they croak through Sanskrit literature. The frog appears in the Vedas in the very well known Mandukasukta—which is a spell to produce rain. The frogs are compared to Brahmin disciples who repeat aloud in unison the lessons of their teacher.

Dr.Mahulikar has contributed a paper on animals and birds in Panchatantra. The Panchatantra is a series of inter-woven fables many of which involve animals and bird exhibiting peculiar stereotypes—Lion is strong and very cruel ; the Jackal is cunning and crafty ; the Monkey fickle-minded ; the Crane stupid, ; the Cat a hypocrite and so on. Though not a scientific treatise, the nature and characteristics of animals and birds reflected in the stories tally to a great extent tally to a great extent with those given in scientific works in Sanskrit.

An interesting episode in our mythology is the churing of the ocean by the Suras and the Asuras. They employed Vasuki, a huge poisonous serpent as a rope and Mandara mountain as a churner. In order to prevent the mountain from sinking Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a turtle and supported it. As a result of the churning, very rare items came out—including the elephant Airavata.

Each of the deities of the Hindu Pantheon is represented as accompanied or riding on the back of or drawn by an animal or bird. The animal or bird is the Vahana of that deity.Some examples. Agni’s -- Ram ; Durga—Lion ; Ganesha—Mouse ; Shiva—Nandi.
 This book  has great value in the context of the awakening in society regarding protection of environment and maintenance of ecological balance.

24 /  01  /  2016.

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